Christmas tree recycling

Scroll down this page for local Iowa recycling and responsible disposal options for holiday waste, from Christmas trees and wreathes, to lights, ornaments, wrapping and packaging. Many towns and cities offer curbside collection, even for Christmas trees. Counties and unicorporated areas typically have a number or drop-off locations.

Christmas trees are usually colllected from December 26th through the first 2 or 3 weeks in January.  Whether your tree is picked up from your curb,Grinding Christmas trees into mulch or you drop it off, be sure to remove all  remove all lights, wire, tinsel, ornaments, nails, stands,  other NON-Organic decorative materials and other materials that are not part of the original tree. This includes tree stands also.  Flocked trees are occasionally accepted (call to verify), but not artificial trees. Large trees (larger than the standard 6 - 7 ft tree) may need to be cut in half to be acceptable by your curbside garbage hauler.

The trees and wreathes are usually chipped and made into a mulch which is often made available, free to city or county residents.

Recycling other items:

Always follow the links (usually the blue, underlined name of the city or county) below for updated information, as these agencies often wait until the last minute to change dates or update their information. If your area is not specifically mentioned below, call your trash collection agency and ask!

Iowa: Where and How to Recycle Your Christmas Tree After the Holidays January 2024

  • Ames, Iowa
    The City of Ames typically provides free disposal of Christmas trees following the holidays at the Parks & Recreation Maintenance Shop, 700 E. 13th St. Generally, trees can be dropped off at the Parks & Recreation Maintenance Shop during daylight hours throughout January. The driveway will be marked with a sign. The tree stand, tinsel, and all ornaments should be removed from the tree. The Christmas trees will be recycled into mulch, which will be used in City of Ames parks and is available to residents at no charge.
    The Parks and Recreation Maintenance Building will be marked with a sign. Please remove the tree stand, tinsel, and all ornaments prior to drop off.For more specific information on drop-off days and times, check the City of Ames website calendar .
  • Boone County, IA - Each year the Boone County Conservation Board, Boone county municipalities, and the Boone County Landfill work together to provide the TreeCycle program for the recycling of Christmas trees. The program runs for two-three weeks each January. Actual dates and drop-off locations are announced in area newspapers. The TreeCycle program accepts only clean Christmas Trees. All ornaments, lights, tinsel, bags and tree stands must be removed.) All Christmas trees collected through the TreeCycle program will be recycled (chipped/mulched) and utilized in county and city parks located in Boone County. If residents have questions about the TreeCycle program they are encouraged to call the Boone County Landfill at (515) 433-0591 between 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and between 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. on Saturday..
  • Cedar Rapids, Iowa
    Christmas Tree Disposal: RResidents have several options for disposal of their Christmas trees this year. There are many different types of trees: live, flocked and artificial trees. Flocked trees are live trees that have been covered in a white, snow-like spray. Each type of tree has different disposal options; please take a moment to determine how to properly dispose of your tree.
    Curbside collection of Live Trees (un-flocked): The Cedar Rapids Solid Waste and Recycling Division collects live Christmas trees as part of the yard waste collection service. Un-flocked trees will be collected from the Monday after Christmas through mid-January. Preparing the tree for curbside collection:
    Remove all ornaments, wires and decorations from the tree
    Do not place the tree in a plastic bag
    Remove any stand or other metal objects from the tree
    Cut the tree into 3 foot sections
    The tree can be placed at the curb on your collection day. You may also put the tree into the YARDY cart for collection, but make sure the lid can close.
    To protect the safety of our crews, please make sure trees are placed at the curb height for collection. Items placed on top of snow banks will not be collected.
    Drop-off Locations for live, unflocked trees:
    The Parks and Recreation Department has set up two sites for disposal of live Christmas trees. Trees will be accepted beginning December 26 throughj January 31st at
    the Sac & Fox trail parking lot, Bertram Road and Wilder Drive SE, and
    Prairie Park Fishery, 2125 Otis Road SE.
    All tinsel, ornaments, decorations, stands, watering packets, tree wrap and netting must be removed from trees prior to disposal. Flocked trees, wreaths and garland cannot be recycled. Both sites are open from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm Signs indicating drop off areas are posted at each location.
    Flocked Trees: Flocked Trees are considered a garbage item. Trees must be cut into 3 foot sections and each section must have a $1.50 garbage sticker affixed before being set out with your garbage.
    Artificial Trees: Plastic trees are also a garbage item. There are no recycling opportunities for plastic Christmas trees in the area. If you can set your artificial tree out for collection in 3 foot sections, a $1.50 sticker is required for each section. If you cannot separate your artificial tree into sections, please call the Solid Waste & Recycling Office at (319) 286-5897 to set up a special pick-up of your tree. The tree will be collected with the Bulky Item Collection Program. The cost of collection will be $5.00 and added to your next municipal utility bill.
    Cardboard is banned from the landfill, so customers must recycle the cardboard tree box in the CURBY cart.
  • Des Moines, Iowa - Christmas trees can be placed out for collection and will be picked up beginning the last week of December. In order to have your Christmas tree picked up you must first attach a Compost It! sticker , make sure all tinsel and decorations are removed, and it cannot be in a plastic bag, and leave it at the curb on your regular collection day. Wreaths and garland are not accepted. For additional information or to purchase a Des Moines sticker, contact the Metro Waste Authority at (515) 244-0021. Metro Waste .
  • Dubuque, Iowa - trees are treated as yard waste. The Merry Mulch Program runs for the 2 full weeks from the Monday after January 1st. Christmas trees (maximum of eight feet high), yard waste bags, bundles and containers (up to 35 gallons), as well as Green Carts with food scraps will be picked up on regular collection days for two weeks. The tree must have either one City brush tie or one yellow yard waste sticker attached and visible from the street or alley. No collection appointment is necessary.. Additional information regarding these programs can be found on each individual program page, Yard Waste Stickers are not available for purchase at City Hall because City Hall is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Yard Waste Stickers are still available for purchase at area discount and hardware stores. The Annual Yard Waste Decals can be purchased by contacting the Utility Billing Department by filling out an online request or by phone at 563-589-4144 and the decal will be sent by mail. 
  • Iowa City - Curbside Christmas tree collection - Typically, collection day is Thursdays. Please have items to the curb by 7 a.m. Natural, unflocked holiday trees may be brought to the curb for collection at any time. Remove all decorations first and do not place your tree in a plastic bag. Collection will resume on Monday after January 1st on curbside customers' normal collection day. For more information, visit
    The trees will be composted at the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center. Artificial trees do not qualify for the free pickup, but you can arrange for them to be picked up and disposed of for an additional fee. For additional information call the Iowa City Solid Waste office at (319) 356-5180. This service is only for natural trees. Artificial trees can be donated to second-hand shops, or for an additional fee, the City will dispose of them. Call 319-356-5151 to arrange pick up.
    Recycle Holiday Lights
    Holiday lights can also be recycled at several community locations through mid-January, and are accepted year-round at the East Side Recycling Center's Habitat for Humanity ReStore donation area and at the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center.
    Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center, 3900 Hebl Ave.
    ReStore donation area, 2401 Scott Blvd. SE
    Iowa City Hy-Vee stores: 1720 Waterfront Dr., 812 S. 1st Ave., 1125 North Dodge St.
    Coralville Hy-Vee, 1914 8th St.
    Stuff Etc., 2818 Commerce Dr.
    Coralville City Hall, 1512 7th St.
    Coralville Recreation Center, 1506 8th St.
    Questions? Contact Recycling Coordinator Jane Wilch at 319-887-6110 or [email protected].
  • Norwalk, Iowa - Trees are removed from the curb on your regular garbage day during the first 2 full weeks after Christmas during Winter Collection in participating cities. Wreaths and garland are not accepted. Here are three easy steps to prepare your live tree for curbside pickup:
    1. Remove all decorations from the tree.
    2. Attach a green Compost It! sticker available at participating grocery and hardware stores for $1.25. Compost It! sticker , sticker available at these participating grocery and hardware stores.
    3. Place the tree at the curb, three feet from your garbage and recycling carts. Make sure the Compost It! sticker is visible from the street.
    Winter yard waste collection is also your last chance to get rid of remaining yard debris before spring. Yard waste is accepted these two weeks on your regular garbage day in Compost It! bags, generic bags with Compost It! stickers attached, or in your Compost It! yard waste cart.
  • Pleasant Hill, Iowa - Christmas Tree collection is done through Metro Waste Authority's Compost It! program. Trees are removed from the curb on your regular garbage day. All trees must have a Compost It! sticker attached and be free of decorations. Wreaths are not accepted. Stickers are sold at participating grocery and hardware stores for $1.25.See Compost It! sticker , here . Be sure to use your Compost It! yard waste cart, Compost It! bags, or attach Compost It! stickers to generic bags to ensure your yard waste is picked up.
    For more information about winter collection, visit Metro Waste Authority or call 515-244-0021 Pick-up - Christmas Tree collection is done through Metro Waste Authority's Compost It! program. Trees are removed from the curb on your regular garbage day.
  • Where to get Compost It! stickers locally in various cities:

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